How to do large foreign currency exchanges?

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sgreszcz
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How to do large foreign currency exchanges?

Post by sgreszcz » 16 Aug 2006 15:12

I was wondering if anyone had any experience exchanging large amounts of Canadian currency into foreign currency (specifically British Pound Sterling).

I am in the process of settling in London, England and need to move my savings to put a deposit on a house (I know, crazy prices, but I am also throwing away 1200 pounds a month on rent).

It hurts to know how little my Canadian $$$ are worth in the UK, and I really want to get as little additional financial injury as possible when faced with foreign exchange conversion commissions and "cheeky" rates.

Thanks in advance for your advice and experience.

Stephen

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Bylo Selhi
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Post by Bylo Selhi » 16 Aug 2006 16:37

Two ideas to investigate:

1. Something patterned on Can$ to US$ or vice versa assuming you can find an interlisted TSX/LSX stock and a broker who can trade on both exchanges for reasonable fees.

2. Interactive Brokers, which is also mentioned and linked in the above thread, although there have been several other threads about doing FX via IB.
Sedulously eschew obfuscatory hyperverbosity and prolixity.

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arthur
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Post by arthur » 16 Aug 2006 17:14


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AltaRed
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Post by AltaRed » 16 Aug 2006 19:02

I have done a fair bit of research with XETrade https://www.xe.com/fx/ including emails with them back and forth, but have yet to sign up and use them to convert large sums of US$ to C$.

They do not charge commissions but make their money on the bid/ask spread.

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Re: How to do large foreign currency exchanges?

Post by kcowan » 17 Aug 2006 11:53

sgreszcz wrote:...I am in the process of settling in London, England and need to move my savings to put a deposit on a house (I know, crazy prices, but I am also throwing away 1200 pounds a month on rent).
...
Maybe you should try a lease-to-purchase offer. I am sure there are some sellers that are nervous, especially any speculators. Could be fun in a buyers market...
For the fun of it...Keith

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sgreszcz
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Post by sgreszcz » 26 Apr 2007 12:07

Sorry to pull this thread back up again, but does anyone have any more/recent experience with xe.com or custom house (or other foreign exchange brokers)?

I'm going to give them a call tomorrow to find out what the spreads and wire fees would be to exchange about $250,000 CDN.

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Post by sevimo » 26 Apr 2007 12:14

sgreszcz wrote:Sorry to pull this thread back up again, but does anyone have any more/recent experience with xe.com or custom house (or other foreign exchange brokers)?
I didn't like them at all

Of course, try to call them and ask for a special rate. Or try talking to UK banks directly.

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Post by Gus » 26 Apr 2007 13:48

Try Citizens' Bank. I had good experiences with them transferring CAD to EUR, good rates and friendly service. Give their trading desk a call.

Mind you, I also dealt with XE and was pleased with them, as well.

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sgreszcz
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Post by sgreszcz » 26 Apr 2007 15:46

I've been a happy Citizen's Bank member since 1997. They were one of the first Internet Banks, and still have the best features in my opinion. With ING and TD brokerage I have managed to work abroad for almost 8 years and never have to enter a branch.

I have used Citizen's bank before for amounts up to 30,000 Eur but I had never considered a bank for larger amounts...

Thanks for the advice.

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sgreszcz
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Post by sgreszcz » 15 Jun 2007 14:24

Well, I finally made a large 6-figure currency conversion from Canadian Dollars to British Pounds.

In the end I compared several online exchange houses as well as HSBC bank (UK) and Citizens Bank (Canada) to see what rates I could get.

The Interbank rate (buying GBP with CAD) was hovering around 2.11254 that day (xe.com). Although it is difficult to see exactly what is the "real" rate. Most online exchange companies take about 0.3% I think. Also the Canadian dollar against the Pound has been quite volatile lately.

Here are the rates that I was given:

HSBC (UK) - 2.2626!
Citizens Bank (Canada) - 2.18
HiFX (UK) - 2.1218
Worldfirst.com (UK) - 2.123
AxiaFX.com (UK) - 2.1215

Later on in the day Worldfirst.com came back saying that they could offer me 2.122 piggybacking on a large corporate order a few days later, but I already put the order in at 2.1215 with AxiaFX.com which was still the better rate.

The process was pretty simple: just wire money from my Citizens Bank Canada account to a Canadian dollar account in the UK (Royal Bank of Scotland). When the money arrived in the UK it was automatically transferred (via CHAPS payment) the same day to my UK chequing account.

I was a little nervous about transferring such a large amount, but I did research a bit on the companies and the communication from them was quite good.

During the transaction, some (Canadian I assume) intermediary bank took $15 from the amount transferred. The receiving party who were converting the money told me this, and I just converted the total less $15. The receiving party did a reverse trace on the transaction for me showing that they received $15 less, so with this proof Citizens Bank credited me with the missing money.

In the end, I got as good an exchange rate as I could expect - at least better than the banks, and it in the end it only cost me the $20 wire fee from Citizens Bank.

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